In our current climate of Covid-19 ravaged schools Trust leaders have an opportunity to demonstrate strategic leadership.
Leadership is about change. Setting the direction of change is fundamental to leadership.
If you are focussed on keeping the systems and structures running for normal routines and behaviours to continue, you are simply managing the situation.
Strategically you need to be changing something about the situation so that similar circumstances do not affect your normal routines as adversely in the future.
The difficult balance for leaders is between the urgent and the important. Making sure there are sufficient teachers in school is an urgent task. The important task is making sure that in a similar situation, at some time in the future, others know what to do to make sure there are sufficient teachers.
Of course, it is not just about teachers in school. The number of consequences of this pandemic are many and conflicting. It is a very tough time for schools.
Over the last 2 years schools have seen enormous change thrust upon them, the greatest being the move to online teaching. Technology designed for business has been adapted for school. Quickly and to a satisfactory level, teachers have coped and carried on. Sometimes the results have been disappointing, sometimes amazing.
Leaders now need to learn from the successes and the mistakes, their own and those of others, and begin to plan. Ask what good should look like, what needs to be done? Ask what is right for your organisation, and ask what exists and what is new to help us progress?
When the pandemic struck our business we were about to launch our tool into the market. During the pandemic we made attempts but we also noticed how the schools who had worked with us to develop the tool began to use it differently. We asked what was needed and spent time during the pandemic working with these schools to add functionality they needed to succeed.
What we now have is a tool designed with schools that delivers for schools, teachers, pupils and parents. It enables teaching to continue, and be both personalised and differentiated as required, during any interruption to school life. It is a comprehensive response for supporting in-school teaching (it’s initial function) and out of school teaching. It shares resources, CPD, and is a communication and engagement tool with parents.
Most importantly it is so easy to use. If you can access a web browser you can use the system. Many teachers have been using it, without training, in under 15 minutes.
With everyone so stretched it is counter-intuitive to talk about introducing a new system. Strategically it is the right time. The benefits will be seen quickly and will grow.